A whiff of fresh air blew on Ravi’s face as he stood at his balcony staring at the broad, endless mist-covered sky. He was half asleep, his mind blank, but his senses were quite wary of the breeze, and the wideness.
Ravi wanted to do this many a morning – rise early, open the verandah gates, quiet his mind, and stand still. And, today he finally did. There are no bad or good mornings – every morning is blissful, relishable, if one managed to arise early, believed Ravi.
Even as he was thinking how an early beginning prepared him better for the day, there were signs of some storm brewing. The noise from the bedroom had shooted up enough to shake him off his slumber completely.
“The morning has just started, and you are coming up with strange demands, pattu!”, grumbled Usha.
“No, I want it now; Appa will take me in car”, retorted the 3-yr old Arun. Ravi rushed in, above anything else, to see why he was dragged into.
“Hey kutti payya, good morning!” Ravi started with this greeting note to indicate he was there for peace.
“What happened?”, he whispered to his wife.
Usha felt no reasons to whisper back or stammer as Ravi did.
“Your son wants icecream right away. That too in beach. Just last week, we had sleepless nights with his cold and cough.” And her look showed that her fury was there to be passed on to Ravi also, mainly for his endearing, rather than stern, approach in the context.
Notwithstanding the heat, Ravi replied, “Ok, that’s it…we can go now”, lifting Usha’s eyebrows, along with her temper, to new heights.
“What is it that you are talking? Who asked you to get up so early on a Sunday morning? Here I am trying to mend your son for half and hour and…”, her loud voice started fading as she moved away from that spot in dismay.
“Appa, can we go now?” Arun asked, without the slightest qualm.
“Ok pattu, but first we have to freshen up. Come..”
Ravi took the next half hour to convince Usha that he could handle all this well, and that she still has to learn taming a child.
Usha responded now with silence, implying Ravi that she would have her chance very soon, the same day.
The beach was yet to become as active as his home.
Ravi tried to get some exercise walking on the cold sands, while Arun sincerely looked for an icecream-walla. And finally, he spotted one.
Now was the time for Ravi’s enactment.
“Pattu, as amma said, what will happen if you get cold again? Only you will not be able to sleep well at night.”
“That’s ok pa. I am well now, and didn’t thatha say not to be afraid of such small colds?”
[“Hmmm…what I can I tell this smart brat”, mumbled Ravi, as he spotted a small boy playing with sister kid, all in rags.]
“Ok…I will get you ice cream once you are fully fine…for now, be happy that we could come to beach.:
“No appa, I will not get cold again. I promise. I want ice cream now itself…”, reacted Arun, getting weepish.
“See pattu, Amma and I are getting toys now and then, above that, thatha (grand dad), chitha (uncle) are also getting you something or the other when you visit them. You shouldn’t be stubborn like this.”
Ravi continued, not looking directly at Arun, to negotiate any immediate downpour of tears.
“Thank Divine Mother that you have lots of things, and today appa brought you to beach also; Appa will surely get ice cream once you are completely well. See so many kids there who don’t even have proper clothes to wear. See that small boy playing with his sister (Ravi gestured). He wouldn’t even have money to get ice cream. ”
Surprisingly now the noise from Arun was getting less, and Ravi could spell a few more preachy lines.
Just to make sure things were fine, Ravi turned at Arun once there was a complete lull. The kid’s face was serene now and focussed on the small boy (already introduced) playing in the sands.
As Ravi was starting to feel proud on how he had cleverly dealt with the whole situation, Arun popped out of the sit-out, and ran straight to the boy.
He pulled the boy by his hand, and came straight to Ravi.
“Appa, can we get ice-cream for Muthu also?”